Just before Christmas Stieg Larsson received yet another posthumous award. This time the participating body was the national newspaper, USA Today, and the title of the honor was “Author of the Year”. For Larsson, who died unexpectantly in 2004, appreciation for his Millennium Trilogy is still at high tide, especially here in the US, where the American version of “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” is due to be released in December of this year. With sales at 14 million in the US and 50 million worldwide, the Larsson phenomena still has some life to it.
Deirdre Donahue, who did the write-up for USA Today, describes Lisbeth Salander, the main character of the saga, as ” the digital age’s first true heroine”. In literary jargon, Lisbeth is a true anti-hero. With her cat-like actions, true status as a social outcast and computer savvy, Lisbeth’s actions have captured the hearts and minds of readers and moviegoers the world over. This fascination will likely continue at least until the end of 2011, when “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” hits American movie theaters. The fact that the subtitled Swedish version has already made the rounds of American art-film houses should do little to dampen the popularity of the upcoming release.
I finally got a chance to see the “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” the other night and despite all attention the book and movie has garnered lately, I was completely surprised and engrossed by the film. I have not read the book so I did not know what to expect.
It wasn’t a fast-paced film like so many American crime-action films tend to be, but yet a very captivating undertaking that delves into the dark side of modern Swedish society.
The performances were first rate, especially that put on by Miss Rapace, as she was very convincing as the hard-edged computer hacker named Lisbeth Salander.
I was surprised to learn that the director was from nearby Denmark. Niels Arden Oplev has been around Scandinavian TV and film for a while, but his stint as director for “Dragon Tattoo” ought to put him on par with the other world-traveling Danish film director, Lars von Trier. In fact, according to the NY Times article cited above Mr. Oplev is buying a house in the “states”, so keep an eye out for his name to appear in association with future American film projects.
And then there is the American version of “Girl With The Golden Tattoo”, which is still in the casting stage. The director has been named. He is David Fincher and the lead role of Lisbeth Salander will go to a British actress named Carey Mulligan. No idea to when filming will begin, but the eventual release date is tentatively scheduled for 2012. David Fincher is a well acclaimed director, whose last release was “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, but the choice of Ms. Mulligan has to be a bit of a surprise, as her previous roles have portrayed very different characters. Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see how the British actress deals with her new challenge and how the American version comes out. Mr. Fincher has some gritty and somber films to his credit, so it will be fun to see how he deals with doing a foreign repeat.
The Swedish version of “Dragon Tattoo”, so far has taken in over 2 million dollars worth of sales. Not much for an American film, but respectable for a sub-titled foreign film, especially one that is not French. The other two parts of the Millenium series will be released with English subtitles later this year.
The BBC Magazine just ran another article on Stieg Larsson, this time with quotes and comments by a Anders Hellberg, who believes that Stieg Larsson was not capable of writing the Millennium series. Another colleague of Larsson’s, Kurdo Baksi, has just published a book questioning his journalism reputation. I guess all this is expected for someone, who has sold 26 million copies of a trilogy and who is not around to depend himself. Maybe the fact that Stieg Larsson began in the publishing business as a graphic designer has something to do with this.
Even so things are going well for Mr. Larsson in the film department for the film, Girl With The Golden Tattoo, is about to be released in Britian (complete with American voice-overs), but you can see the You Tube version here. You’ll have to link over to You Tube to watch it. Maybe one of these days I’ll upgrade with wordpress and start embedding videos, but not today. The American adaption is due out later this year.
The first book (Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) is now available here in the states as a paperback, so American audiences are getting a good read on the author and will continue to do so as the other two books are released. Crime fiction always a popular read here in the states is now getting taken a bit more seriously, as are some of its related fields such as horror. Stephen King, who had his own close encounter with death not too long ago courtesy of a hit and run driver is gradually finding acceptance in more and more places. I think just last year he was invited to edit a popular short story collection by American Editions. This popular book can be found under the heading of Literary Fiction (whatever that is), all over America – a definite improvement for Mr. King.